MPs demand spam protection for businesses

MPs demand spam protection for businesses

Summary: The UK government has been warned that firms may 'rise up in anger' unless they are given protection from unsolicited junk mail

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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A group of technology-savvy MPs have warned that the British government is wrong to allow spam emails to be sent to business users, and are pushing for the "mistake" to be rectified.

The All Party Internet Group published the results of this summer's inquiry into the problem of unsolicited commercial emails on Monday. One of its key conclusions is that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has erred in its implementation of its anti-spam laws, by deliberately not giving corporate email accounts the same protection as personal ones.

"We believe that the DTI has made a very serious mistake in not prohibiting unsolicited business-to-business email," said APIG in its report. "When the DTI changes the rules on business-to-business cold-calling, they should take the opportunity to explicitly ban the sending of spam to business addresses."

Last month the government launched its anti-spam legislation, which implements the EU Privacy and Electronics Communication Directive. This law makes it an offence for a UK business to send junk email or text messages to individuals unless they are existing customers or have given their permission to receive such material.

The DTI says that it chose not to protect businesses from spam because it didn't want to inhibit legitimate business-to-business communications but APIG is not impressed, believing that firms also deserve protection from spam -- which is thought to make up at least 50 percent of all email.

"We're saying to the DTI that they've done pretty well so far, but that they should look at this loophole," explained Brian White MP, APIG treasurer, speaking at a press conference at Parliament. "A small or medium-sized enterprise is just as vulnerable to spam as a home user," White warned.

The key to addressing this issue, APIG says, is the guidelines that will be drawn up by the Information Commissioner -- who will enforce the government's regulations. These guidelines will define acceptable bulk business-to-business communications.

Richard Allan, APIG vice-chairman, hopes that these guidelines can be written to permit genuine business communications -- for example, when a photocopier-maker sends an unsolicited email to other firms in the photocopying trade advertising its wares -- and outlaw clearly unsolicited, unwanted and unsuitable spam such as Viagra adverts and pornography.

"Otherwise, if we have the situation where anyone can set up a business and send thousands of dodgy emails to your business, I think you'll see UK businesses rise up in anger about it," Allan predicted.

Topic: Tech Industry

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3 comments
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  • MPs Should address the issues of poor hospitals, schools policing etc companies getting spam, is a very low priority issue as far as I am concerned.

    It is also wrong that, businesses keep getting singled out for preferential treatment.

    They already get cheaper phone calls and all sorts of other concessions.

    We all receive unwanted e-mail, however if the MPs want a real issue what about all the spam, that businesses send to us through the post every day of the week.

    It is also businesses that are sending out most of the spam e-mails any way trying to force people to purchase their products.

    Reecntly I started getting a pop up message, destry all ads buy our software.

    I sent them an e-mail, asking them to stop sending them to me. I also informed them that they at that time were the only ones sending me the messages any way and that if they stopped I wouldn't need there software.

    Of course I recieved more pop-ups, but I still dont have to buy their software to stop them.

    Any one who needs to stop pop-up messages, go to ZDNET where you cah download a free program POP UP STOPPER.
    anonymous
  • It would be disastrous to prevent businesses writing to introduce their wares to other businesses. There is a perfectly reasonable need for you to be able to write to me to draw my attention to a service you provide which I might well buy if I knew about it.

    Selling must not be driven off the email net and confined to snail mail and having salesmen knocking on doors.

    What must be stopped is the snowstorm of persistent spam from the same few sources, often addressed to generic addresses like g_zxifxqwi@yahoo.com and FROM randomly generated sender names. These bulk generators are what must be legislated against -- not normal selling.
    anonymous
  • I've written an article on how to avoid spam without spending money. It's simpler than you think.

    Have a look at:
    http://www.webcogs.com/spam_protection.aspx

    Best regards,
    Richard Lowe.

    Managing Director
    Webcogs.com Ltd
    anonymous